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Out with the old…

‘Now the New Year reviving old Desires,

The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires’

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Trans. Edward Fitzgerald)

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not touched by the frost’

The Song of Aragorn, The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

New Year’s Eve – and I am thankfully not Ambulance call again until tomorrow night. I’ve done a lot of call over the holidays, and was on the last two nights, and had fairly little sleep on both, and busy days between, so this is not me at my ‘scintillating’ best, but I still want to wish all our readers a safe New Year seeing in, and all the creativity, persistence and success for 2019. Where the hell did 2018 go? Read more

Wrapping up the year, business edition

Good morning; It’s Dec 30. Before you get distracted by New Year’s Eve preparations, please remember to pull out all your record-keeping files and folders, and create duplicates for 2019 – this way it’s easy, as the new year rings in, to start your recordkeeping on the correct foot even as you wrap up the last paperwork for 2018. This will also give you a little breathing room to consider if you want to change your record keeping, as well as split or combine any categories / files / folders to better reflect changes in your business over the last year (and anticipated changes coming up.) Read more

Ars Longa (Repost)

This originally appeared on my blog as part of a series. You can find all of them here. This seemed appropriate here, as well, and I’m dealing with some stuff that makes my writing a little… fuzzier  than usual. More on that later. I have no answers, and as I wrote a while back, humans need answers.

Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile

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Publishing’s Crystal Ball – Slightly Cracked?

What will 2019 hold for authors and publishers? Change. What sort of change? Ah, there’s the rub… Read more

Endings and Beginnings

This week, in between more amusing activities involving a five-year-old on a trampoline and a suddenly mobile baby trying to eat the Christmas tree decorations, I’ve been adding front and back matter to A Revolution of Rubies in preparation for formatting and publishing. Usually I put a teaser for the next book in series at the back, but this time there isn’t a next book in series. I could put the start of the Regency fantasy that’s up next, or the first chapter of the upcoming series that’s kind of a spin-off from this one… or I might do something completely different.

I’ve noticed that a lot of books now have a list of Book Group Questions at the end. I can see the benefit from the publisher’s point of view – getting a book picked up by a discussion group has to be great for sales – but most of the questions seem to be written by literary types who are all about symbolism and subtext and not at all interested in storytelling and having fun. So I had a crack at creating my own BGQ’s for A Revolution of Rubies. And concluded that I’m no good at this; most of these questions are only fun before you’ve read the book. Oh, well. I guess I’ll put a teaser for Salt Magic at the end of the book, after all. Meanwhile, enjoy:

1.    Thalia and the rest of the Center for Applied Topology have been sent to Europe to ingratiate themselves in diplomatic circles so that they can help bug the homes and offices of the diplomats. What could possibly go wrong with turning a bunch of topologists loose among diplomats? What couldn’t go wrong?

2.    Would you steal a woman’s borrowed rubies in order to get access to her niece’s paranormal abilities? Wouldn’t you even wonder about the wisdom of provoking someone who can become invisible and walk through walls?

3.    If a foreign agent and a woman with serious skills in card manipulation walk into Casino Barcelona, who’s going to have to borrow cab fare home?

4.    Lensky flatly forbids Thalia to try using her paranormal abilities in certain contexts. More than once. Whatever could have given him the illusion this would work? Will the handcuffs do it?

5.    A Revolution of Rubies takes place in Paris, Barcelona, and the imaginary Central Asian country of Taklanistan. Talk about these places from Thalia’s point of view, with particular attention to the various forms of chocolate-enhanced snacks available in each one.

The Long Slow Wake-up Call of the Soul

Excuse the pretentious title. It’s just that it’s something approximating the way I feel right now: like I’m very slowly waking up from… well, something.

To be fair, I’m female, have several energy-sapping chronic incurable (managed by medication) conditions, and I’m at that time of life, so things are going to be kind of odd at the best of times (and not the good kind of odd, either).

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In the Beginning…

A lot of my writerly acquaintances/friends/family have their own ‘origin story’ that is fascinating to me. They say things like, “I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid,” or, “I’ve always told stories and made up my own worlds.”

My origin story resembles these only if you turn your head and squint. I liked to make up stories- my stuffed animals went on all kinds of improbable adventures- and I wrote a certain amount of fanfiction- mostly in my head. I have one world in particular that drifted away from the source material so much that I need to get it down on paper and publish; it’s a crime that it’s sitting there, doing nothing. Read more

That Time

There is a sense to this last week, as the year speeds to its end.  Most years, there is, of course, though it’s often submerged in the sense of rushing and getting things done for the end of the year.  Parties, friends, one last chance to see people and get gifts wrapped. That sort of thing.  This year, it feels like I’m getting things done, too, but there’s a sense of purpose to it.

I’m not — despite being a writer and therefore seeing plots and sense everywhere — in general given to seeing “It’s intended” or “meant to be” but these last two weeks might be the exception.

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Business Filler Post – Print Sales in December

Howdy! I was browsing the news and thought this article from Publishers Weekly might be of interest:

“The publishing industry does not look like it is headed for a big finish to 2018. In the week ended Dec. 15, 2018, unit sales of print books fell 6.5% compared to the similar week in 2017 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Read more

Merry Christmas to all!

From everyone here at Mad Genius Club to you and yours, Merry Christmas. Have a safe and happy holiday.